Illinois Vs. Iowa: Illini Frantically Trying To Salvage Season

CHAMPAIGN, IL - JANUARY 31: Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Bruce Weber yells to his team during the game against the Michigan State Spartans at Assembly Hall on January 31, 2012 in Champaign, Illinois. Illinois defeated Michigan State 42-41. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The Illinois Fighting Illini (16-12, 5-10) host the Iowa Hawkeyes (15-13, 7-8) in just another make-or-break game for their 2011-2012 season.

The Illinois Fighting Illini have lost nine of their last 10 games, and there has been rampant speculation that head coach Bruce Weber will lose his job come season's end. How can they salvage the 2011-2012 season? Well, they may not be able to, but a home victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes would be a start, especially with two highly ranked opponents left on the schedule.

The bad news for Illinois it that the Hawkeyes are on a bit of a roll, having knocked off the Indiana Hoosiers and Wisconsin Badgers in back-to-back games, albeit both at home. The Hawkeyes haven't won a home game since January 4 when they beat the Minneosta Golden Gophers, but then again the Illini have dropped home games to both the Northwestern Wildcats and Purdue Boilermakers during this nightmare last month and half.

The Hawkeyes are led by senior guard Matt Gatens, who averages 15 points per game and is a marksman for Iowa, shooting 48% from the field and 42% from three. The Illini may have a bit of an advantage down low, as Meyers Leonard is certainly the best big man in this game. But at this point, the Illini are a mystery, and a victory by any means would be welcome.

Game date/time: Sunday, February 26, 2012, 5:00 p.m. CT

Location: Assembly Hall, Champaign, Ill.

TV: Big Ten Network

Odds: Illinois by 6.5

For more on this game, stick with SB Nation Chicago. For more on the Illini, head over to Hail to the Orange, and for more on the Hawkeyes, visit Black Heart Gold Pants. For news and notes from around the country, stay with SB Nation's college basketball news hub.

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